The Dalai Lama on Communication - So How's That working for You?


Try sleeping with a mosquito.

The Dalai Lama is quoted as saying “When you talk, you are repeating what you already know.” He said that a while back. I wasn’t there so I really don’t know if it was the current Dalai Lama (the 14th), or an earlier one. (Hang that figuratively from the ceiling.)


If you are inclined to accept the Dalai Lama’s proposition too literally, are you opening yourself up to being too naïve? (Just because someone presumes expertise on a subject; does that make them right?) People say a lot of things. It’s called talking. But, talking and communicating are not the same thing. And, for Supervisors it is important to remember that “communicating” requires thinking about what you want to communicate and organizing your thoughts…before uttering the words.


Why is that important?


Well, "Giving Orders" verbally suggests there will be little, or no discussion. By contrast, "Delegating Tasks" or Duties should be premised in communicating the desired/necessary actions to be taken and results to be achieved. Delegation when done well, also includes Confirming, Correcting, and Clarification. Doing so, benefits both the Supervisor and the person being delegated to.

Communicating effectively also involves “listening” actively, or empathetically. Active or empathetic listening suggest listening not only for accuracy; but also for the emotion (or lack of) being expressed by the other party(ies).


Now to put my ole’ BFF Dali in proper context. His full quote was “When you talk, you are repeating what you already know. But, if you listen, you may learn something new.”


Now, I’ll close with three more of my personal favorite Dalai Lama quotes:

* “Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.”

* “Choose to be optimistic, it feels better.”

* “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”

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